March 6, 2014
The eight cent tariff paid to owners of PV Solar power systems owners by Energex and Ergon Energy will end on June 30, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said today.
However, the existing 44 cent feed-in tariff will remain unchanged for the customers that remain eligible to receive it.
Mr Seeney said that left unchecked, the eight cent feed-in tariff would have cost Queensland households and businesses an extra $110 million on their power bills over the next six years.
He said the changes announced today would lift the cost burden from Ergon and Energex and put downward pressure on electricity prices, making the scheme fairer for all Queensland consumers.
“These reforms will mean electricity retailers will pay any newly negotiated solar tariff direct to users,” he said.
“These are common-sense decisions that will produce a positive outcome for existing customers on the 8 cent rate, as well as new solar owners.”
Due to different levels of competition between south east Queensland and regional areas there will be different tariff arrangements:
In the Ergon region (which includes the South Burnett):
- Given the very limited competition outside the south-east corner, Ergon Energy customers will continue to receive a tariff paid by Ergon Retail. This rate will be set by the Queensland Competition Authority until there is enough retail competition in regional areas to make solar more self-sufficient.
In the Energex region:
- Energex will no longer pay the 8 cent feed-in tariff. Customers will be able to negotiate a tariff with their retailer but the government will not regulate a rate.
Further information about Queensland’s Solar Bonus Scheme is available online
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The Electrical Trades Union says the decision has pulled “the rug from under the feet” of 40,000 Queenslanders.
The union described the decision to force people receiving the 8c/KwH tariff to directly negotiate with electricity retailers from July 1 – while leaving 285,000 other customers who are receiving 44c/KwH unaffected to 2028 – “as ridiculous as it is ineffectual”.
ETU State Organiser Stuart Traill called for the removal of Energy Minister Mark McArdle.
“It is a fact that this decision will leave six times as many solar customers still on the higher 44c/KwH rate so any ‘savings’ on electricity bills will be negligible,” he said.
“If the government was serious about reducing power costs while still supporting clean energy they would fund the solar rebate scheme directly which would save $147 per household per year.
“Our recently released independent economic analysis, the Orion Report, into government energy businesses showed that household bills could be reduced by $310 per year if all the profits generated were returned to taxpayers to combat rising power prices.”
Mr Traill said the LNP had a “pathological hatred” of renewable energy.
“This is the latest step in their mindless pursuit of free market ideology in the Queensland energy sector,” he said.
“Abandoning those customers on 8c to deal directly with retailers is impractical and unfair.
“Does the government seriously expect householders to negotiate with large energy corporations? These were people who simply signed up to reduce their power bills and utilise clean solar energy.
“The statements by the Minister that increased competition will lead to better deals for consumers is laughable. It didn’t work for retail prices and it won’t work for solar tariffs.”
Mr Traill said that over the past two years Mr McArdle and the LNP had presided over a 22.6 per cent increase in power prices with a further rise of more than 10 per cent on the way.